EXCELLENCE OF ASSEMBLIES OF DHIKR
It is a commendable practice to join the assemblies or circles of Dhikr.
This is supported by the following ahadith:
Abdullah Ibn 'Umar [R.A.] reported,
"The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
'When you pass by a garden of Paradise, avail yourselves of it.'
I-DHAA MA-RAR-TUM BI RIYAADIL JANNATI FARTA`UU
The Companions asked, 'What are the gardens of Paradise, O Messenger of Allah?'
The Prophet, peace be upon him, replied,
'The assemblies or circles of dhikr. There are some angels of Allah who go about looking for such assemblies of dhikr, and when they find them they surround them'."
Imam Muslim reports that Mu'aawiyah [R.A.] said,
"The Prophet, peace be upon him, went out to a circle of his Companions and asked,
'What makes you sit here?'
They said, 'We are sitting here in order to remember Allah and to praise Him because He guided us to the path of Islam and he conferred favours upon us.'
Thereupon he adjured them by Allah and asked if that was the only purpose of their sitting there.
'They said, By Allah, we are sitting here for this purpose only.'
At this the Prophet, peace be upon him, said,
'I am not asking you to take an oath because of any misapprehension against you, but only because Jibreel (Alayhis-Salaam) came to me and informed me that Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, was telling the angels that He is proud of you'."
[ Reported by Imam Muslim ]
Abu Sa'iid Al-Khudri [R.A.] and Abu Hurayrah [R.A.] narrated that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said,
"When any group of men remember Allah, angels surround them and mercy covers them, tranquillity descends upon them, and Allah mentions them to those who are with Him."
LAA YAQ`ADU QAWMUN YADH-KURUUNAL- LAAHA TA`AALA ILLAA HAF-FAT-HUMUL- MALAA-IKAH WA GHASHIYAT- HUMUR- RAHMAH WA NAZALAT `ALAYHIMUS- SAKIINAH WA DHAKARA- HUMUL- LAAHU FIIMAN `INDAHU
[ Reported by Imam Muslim ]
ETIQUETTE OF DHIKR
The purpose of Dhikr is to purify hearts and souls and awaken the human conscience. The Qur'an says:
"And establish regular prayer, for prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds, and remembrance of Allah is the greatest thing."
[ AL`ANKABUUT, 29:45 ]
In other words, the remembrance of Allah has a greater impact in restraining one from shameful and unjust deeds than just the formal regular prayer. In fact the remembrance of Allah is the most powerful and effective restraint upon sin. This is so because when a servant opens up his soul to his lord, extolling His praise, Allah strengthens him with His light, increasing thereby his faith and conviction, and reassuring his mind and heart. Almighty Allah tells us in the Holy Qur'an :
"Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah, for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction." [ SURAH AR-RA`D, 13:28 ]
And when hearts are satisfied with the Truth, they turn to the highest ideals without being deflected by impulses of desire or lust. This underscores the importance of dhikr in man's life. Obviously it would be unreasonable to expect these results just by uttering certain words, for words of the tongue unsupported by a willing heart are of no consequence. Allah Himself has taught us the manner in which a person should remember Him, saying,
"And do bring your Lord to remembrance in your very soul, with humility and in reverence, without loudness in words, in the mornings and evening, and be not of those who are unheedful." [ AL-A`RAAF, 7:205 ]
This verse indicates that doing dhikr in silence and without raising one's voice is better. Once during a journey the Prophet, peace be upon him, heard a group of Muslims supplicating aloud. Thereupon the Prophet, peace be upon him, said,
"Give yourselves a respite, you are not calling upon someone deaf or absent. Surely He Whom you are calling upon is near you and He listens to all. He is nearer to you than the neck of your mount."
This hadith underlines the love and awe a person should feel while engaged in dhikr.
A part of this etiquette is the requirement that a person wishing to do dhikr be clean in body and dress, and smell sweet and fragrant. This will give him a fresh zeal and he will feel invigorated. One should face the qiblah during dhikr, for the best assemblies are those that face the Ka'bah.